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Review of ASUS Xonar Essence One: USB DAC with a symmetric eightfold increase in the frequency of sampling

More recently, we introduced you to the gaming headset, ASUS RoG Vulcan ANC , which can be classified as "non-standard" products of this manufacturer, because for many traditional products from this company are motherboards, graphic cards, notebooks, etc. We see that the developers are keeping pace with the times. Due to the fact that there has been an increase in the number of audiophiles who prefer to use an ordinary PC to play digital audiokonenta is immediately reflected in the list of products offered in the form of different sound cards form factor and class.

The developers of the company surprised fans by their decisions, and deservedly so fruitful work brings results. According to the results of CES 2012 ASUS representatives took just six awards, one of which was obtained in the category is "Audio Components" and won her an external digital to analog converter (DAC) ASUS Xonar Essence One , designed for high-quality sound from digital sources. This solution has a good signal-to-noise ratio (120 dB), as well as the possibility of increasing the sampling rate up to 352.8 or 384 kHz, depending on the initial value. It is with this USB DAC, and we will introduce in this material


This solution is positioned as the "world's first USB DAC with a symmetric eightfold increase in sampling rate and SNR 120 dB" and assigned by the manufacturer to the class High-End solutions due to the excellent characteristics.


The manufacturer and model

ASUS Xonar Essence One

The characteristics of audio

Output Signal-to-Noise Ratio (A-Weighted) (Front-out):
120 dB
Output THD N at 1kHz (Front-out):
0.000316% (-110 dB)
Frequency Response (-3dB, 24bit/192KHz input):
10 Hz to 48 KHz
Output / Input Full-Scale Voltage:
Balanced Output: 4 Vrms (Vp-p)
Unbalanced Output: 2 Vrms (Vp-p)
Headphone: 7 Vrms (Vp-p)

Bus interface


Audio processor

C-Media CM6631 High-Definition Sound Processor

Sampling and bit

Analog Playback Sample Rate and Resolution:
44.1K/48K/88.2K/96K/176.4K/192KHz @ 16bit/24bit
S / PDIF Digital Input:
44.1K/48K/96K / 192KHz @ 16bit/24bit
ASIO 2.0 Driver Support:
Hz @ with very low latency
Upsampling capability.

analog outputs

RCA (unbalanced)
XLR (balanced)
Jack 6.3 mm

digital inputs

USB, S / PDIF coaxial and optical

OS Compatibility

Windows, Mac OS X, Linux

Overall dimensions

261x 230 x 60

Weight, g



Product page

According to the specification as soon as it becomes clear that the CAP ASUS Xonar Essence One has an excellent set of inputs / outputs. Outputs are available for connecting loudspeaker equipment, while implemented as unbalanced RCA, and balanced XLR. Incidentally, in this balanced digital to analogue converter output voltage swing is ± 2 V, which allows you to unleash the full sonic possibilities of the balanced amplifier channel.

A distinctive feature of the device is its ability to increase the input stream with frequencies of 44.1, 88.2 and 176.4 kHz to 352.8 kHz and 48.96 kHz and 192 - to 384 kHz is symmetrical, allowing the sound to a music fan to enjoy this as it is, and the resolution is increased to 32 bits, while improving the accuracy of the original recording. This ability is not available to all USB DAC-am, as in the traditional solutions of the frequency of any audio stream are converted into 192 kHz, regardless of baseline values.

Another feature that can attract the attention of audiophile is the signal / noise ratio 120 dB, which in turn makes it possible to get a more clear and detailed sound with very low noise level. Other USB DAC, according to the developers, the value of these characteristics are at a level of 110 dB.

And, of course, difficult to imagine a music lover without headphones High-End class that have very high impedance (in some models, this value can be up to 600 ohms), "pull" these "ears" standard amplifiers are extremely rare, but for the ASUS Xonar Essence One, they will not be a problem.

Thus, prior familiarity with the ASUS Xonar Essence One leaves only positive impressions. According to the specs, it is capable of almost any interested buyer who wants to enjoy a clean detailed sound. Particularly relevant given the DAC will be for owners of portable devices, in which the USB-connector is the only way to upgrade embedded audio, but can not be overlooked, and the lack of digital output devices.

Packaging and equipment

The direct acquaintance with the ASUS Xonar Essence One will begin with the appearance of the packaging, which has a fairly large size, especially if compared to the dimensions of the DAC. The color scheme used for decoration, not rich (there is a combination of black and white / gold colors for text and graphic parts), but a cursory glance at the display case to miss it you will not. On either side of the package focuses on the fact that the world's first eight-fold symmetric DAC with gain.

On the back of the lion's share of space is occupied by the specification device, and information on bundle. Also, in 15 languages, including Russian, the manufacturer pays attention to the key features of the converter

  • Improving the quality of sound,
  • Extremely clear sound (120 dB)
  • 11 removable operational amplifiers.

The most interesting point is that the ASUS Xonar Essence One is much smaller than it appears on the package size, but all space is occupied.

Busy is it nothing more than: two power cords for different types of outlets, by the way their numbers in some embodiments may be reduced to one, as there is a corresponding label on the package, a disk with drivers, manual, a report containing the results of tests; adapter 6.3 mm - 3.5 mm (jack - mini-jack) cable and USB.

digital to analog amplifier itself has a stylish design. Its body is entirely made of a sufficiently thick aluminum, which in turn gives greater protection against electromagnetic interference as compared with the solutions that are installed directly into the system unit. At the same time excessive influence on the weight, which, incidentally, is not small, it has not.

The front panel contains the following controls: a power button, on / off button to increase the sampling frequency, the switch to select between different versions of the entrance, and the LED display tells you the current selection. Also on the front panel there is a group of LEDs that reflect the current level of the sampling frequency of the sound source.

The switch between the volume controls (headphones / speakers) and the regulators themselves will appeal to owners who listen to music through the speakers as well as headphones. This is very convenient, because You can customize to make each of them.

The presence of high-grade type connector Jack (6,3 mm) lets you connect any Hi-Fi headphones. A bundled adapter 6.3 mm - 3.5 mm, and will use any at all "ears".

In general, the implementation of controls can be described as a very high quality as all the buttons and knobs have a smooth ride and precise positioning. Particularly interesting is the device in the dark, because the presence of light and LED indicator adds "flavor" to the look.

On the rear panel interface connections are located the power cables and inputs / outputs. Use the same device as you can in networks with a voltage of 230 V and 115 V.

Please note that the ASUS Xonar Essence One is equipped with balanced (XLR) outputs. This output is traditionally used to eliminate noise and interference in the connecting cable through the use of the two signal wires, which runs the same signal, but in opposite phase. On the receiving side of the common-mode noise (induced on both signal wires) are mutually subtracted and completely disappear. Typically, this type of compound used in recording studios since it lets you use long cables without the influence of external interference.

At the bottom of the ASUS Xonar Essence One has four soft rubber feet that will safely place the unit on a smooth and quite slippery surface. In the central part of a sticker, which contains information on the production site (China), the input voltage (115/230) and serial number.

As you probably already knew, digital to analog converter ASUS Xonar Essence One has a built-in power supply, with most of the mass of the device is provided to them. In this situation, the developers have chosen to provide the highest quality product. The presence of high-quality built-in power supply for noise filtering the supply voltage.

Another feature is the presence of removable devices operational amplifiers, which are actually responsible for the formation of high-quality sound, with different OS provide a distinctive sound. So the owners who have their own views on the chip used is given complete freedom of action. This move, according to the manufacturer, has no precedent for a USB DAC class Hi-End.

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